TnT 80 Teachers drowning in student loan debt can save so much money by doing this

Student loan debt is no joke, and it creates so much anxiety for just about everyone, ESPECIALLY newer teachers. Programs like Teacher Loan Forgiveness promise to help with this burden, but it barely helps to bring down the tens of thousands of dollars in debt that teachers have. And misinformation about the best way to pay back these loans results in teachers losing thousands of dollars. Why doesn’t anyone tell us about this? Why is it so complicated? In this second part of my conversation with Travis Hornsby from the Student Loan Planner, we get down to the details, and he goes as far as to crunch some numbers so that you can get a really clear idea of just how much you can save.

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Thank you so much for joining me today, I really appreciate it. I’m super excited for this second part of my interview with Travis. As I mentioned in the introduction, Travis is from studentloanplanner.com and the Student Loan Planner podcast. I can’t wait for you to learn more about how you can get out from under the burden of student loan debt.

Travis founded Student Loan Planner after helping his physician wife navigate ridiculously complex student loan repayment decisions. To date, he’s consulted on almost $500 million in student debt personally, more than anyone else in the country. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and brings his background as a former bond trader trading billions of dollars.

Before we get into part 2, I wanted remind you guys know about an upcoming conference JUST for new teachers. It’s called the New Educator Weekend, and it’s being held in two locations: in San Diego from December 6-8 and Santa Clara, CA from February 21-23. These conferences have everything that you need to be successful in your first few years of teaching with sessions covering topics like classroom management, IEPs, working with colleagues, admin, and parents, common core and state standards, and how to build your teaching career. SO MUCH good stuff you guys, and you KNOW you need it!

As a bonus, I’ll be at both of those conferences both as a presenter and exhibitor for this podcast, so I definitely encourage you to sign up. I’d LOVELOVELOVE to meet you and hear about how your first years are going! So if you DO plan on going, be sure to message me on Instagram or email me so that I can look out for you and we can meet up!

For more information and to sign up, head over to teachersneedteachers.com/conference, where you’ll see information about both the southern on in San Diego and northern one in Santa Clara.


Thank you so much for joining me today, I really appreciate it. I’m super excited for this second part of my interview with Travis. As I mentioned in the introduction, Travis is from studentloanplanner.com and the Student Loan Planner podcast. I can’t wait for you to learn more about how you can get out from under the burden of student loan debt.

Travis founded Student Loan Planner after helping his physician wife navigate ridiculously complex student loan repayment decisions. To date, he’s consulted on almost $500 million in student debt personally, more than anyone else in the country. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and brings his background as a former bond trader trading billions of dollars.

Before we get into part 2, I wanted to remind you guys about an upcoming conference JUST for new teachers. It’s called the New Educator Weekend, and it’s being held in two locations: in San Diego from December 6-8 and Santa Clara, CA from February 21-23. These conferences have everything that you need to be successful in your first few years of teaching with sessions covering topics like classroom management, IEPs, working with colleagues, admin, and parents, common core and state standards, and how to build your teaching career. SO MUCH good stuff you guys, and you KNOW you need it!

As a bonus, I’ll be at both of those conferences both as a presenter and exhibitor for this podcast, so I definitely encourage you to sign up. I’d LOVELOVELOVE to meet you and hear about how your first years are going! So if you DO plan on going, be sure to message me on Instagram or email me so that I can look out for you and we can meet up!

For more information and to sign up, head over to teachersneedteachers.com/conference, where you’ll see information about both the southern on in San Diego and northern one in Santa Clara.

Kim  

There’s so much like going on in my mind when I’m thinking about this. I’m still kind of reeling from the fact that it doesn’t have to be a title one school, because I’m sure there are other teachers like myself, who were like, We didn’t even think about it or tribe and paying all this time. And it could have been forgiven by now.

Travis  

Pretty upsetting, right? Well, this is my point with the NEA like messing up, right? Like the NEA is supposed to help teachers out. And instead of educating people, they’re just making these like statements just like they’re not informed, you know about, you know, what’s going on? 

Like, I mean, you can say that PSLF might not happen for future borrowers like that haven’t taken that out yet. That’s absolutely a fair statement. Like if you don’t have the debt in your name yet. Like, because you haven’t started a graduate program. Right? Yeah, like there’s a risk that it could go away because it’s not in your promissory note. 

So like, one thing that you can look for is when you sign up for debt, like they give you a contract, right. And that contract basically gives you the rules and stipulations behind what you’re signing up for. If you look at any of your contracts that have been issued, since 2010, of what you signed up for, it literally says that you have the right to do PSLF in that contract.

Kim  

 

What is the turnaround time when you start filing that paperwork?

Travis  

That takes about two months to move your loans over to the new place, usually, right. So that’s how long it takes to move it over. And then they come back to you with your qualified payment count. 

And this is really where it gets really, really bad. So the backlog right now, for, you know, qualified payment certifications is one year. So in other words, they are one year behind certifying people’s like payment counts when they’re inaccurate. So I would say probably like the majority of the time, they’re not accurate. 

Because what for whatever reason, the loan servicers, there are four big ones, they don’t really communicate very well with each other. So you know, like, maybe it will hold on to its data, and fed loan won’t be able to read it when they transfer over for PSLF. And so then fed loan will like just make up a payment count. That’s not accurate. And so if you know, you’ve been paying on your loans for like, three years, and you know, okay, I should have 36 months of credit, do you have to file an appeal, and it’s pretty easy to do, you just literally call them and say, put my loans into the appeal process. It’s not like you have to have a formal thing or anything. 

But I want to tell your listeners a hack that I’ve learned. So. So if you call your congressperson and senators and ask their constituent services office, all you need to do is call that constituents Services Office, which you just asked for it, you just call their general number and ask for that. And literally say, I’m a teacher, and fed loan, told me that my payment count is this many months, and it shouldn’t be that it should be more, all you have to do is say that and then say like, will you help me? Okay. 

I can tell you that I have seen cases where somebody has this appeal process, it’s supposed to take a year and it takes two weeks because they called their Congresspersons office. Okay, so depending on how powerful your senators are, this can be even faster. 

So for example, I had some people like, you know, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, or like Senator Tim Kaine, or, you know, even some, like senior Republican senators, like, the more powerful your senator is like, the fist the faster, they’re, like afraid, and they change it, you know, to what it should be. So, that’s, that’s a little hot tip for anybody that’s submitting their forms. 

So I can really sympathize with somebody that doesn’t feel like they have the time for this, but just know that you are in a, you know, you’re important, like, you know, like anyone listening to this, like your future is worth this. So, you know, like, they’re already curtailing pensions, like they’re making retirement benefits, not as good as they used to be right now. 

And it’s, like, really frustrated when it comes back. Like, you know, it’s like, I should have five years, not one year, you know, yeah, that’s, that’s the trick to us to get your payments certified. But I think that the, you know, the reality is that, you know, you can really get a lot forgiven if you are intentional about this, and you pay attention, which, you know, most teachers obviously have a lot more things you have to worry about, right that like, yeah, managing the classroom, all the, you know, grades, and they have to do all of the lesson plans they have to put together. 

And so like, if you’re not doing this, then you’re literally like throwing away thousands of dollars, which, like, if you think about it, like imagine a teacher who has 50,000 student loans, like they might literally be able to pay like five to $10,000, over 10 years. So that means that like, the value of loan forgiveness for them could like be like five to $10,000 per year, something like that, like if you include all the principal and interest and everything. And then that’s like, so that can be like two or three months a year of work. 

So like, if you don’t, you know, so if you want to give away like two or three months, a year of going into your school, like for free, then don’t pay attention to this stuff. Basically, every school in America should give their new teachers a little piece of paper, when they sign up to work with them, that says, send this format to fed loan, sign up for the page, we’re in plan and track your progress once a year towards loan forgiveness. Every single school in America should do that. 

But the problem is, is Congress made this bill really complicated, they made PSLS very complicated. And so we actually my wife, and I got kind of screwed over and lost a lot of money, based off of getting bad advice around our student loans, which was why I founded student loan player to make sure that didn’t happen to other people.

Kim  

I can imagine that there are people like me who are pretty feeling pretty bad about this, because, you know, it seems like the only option is to just keep paying it.

We get bombarded with all of these, like, student loan debt consolidation pieces of mail. And I’m really skeptical of all of that.

I know that they are just are going to charge me more interest, my payments going to be higher, I don’t see how I’m going to benefit.

Travis  

Yeah, I mean, like those, those places are absolute scams, I mean, so basically, what these places are trying to do is tell you that the solution to everything is consolidating your student loans, which might act might actually be really bad for you. 

For example, if you’ve been paying for a qualifying plan for five years, and you have directed loans, if you consolidate, you wipe away all five years worth of that credit, you start over from payments, zero, right. And so these consolidation groups just like charge you like $1,000 to do the paperwork. And then they’ll try to charge you like 500, or you know, or 50 a month or 100 a month to say that they’re doing like recertification for you. 

When in reality, these are basically like things, people in Southern California and southern Florida like startup because they want to get rich quickly, right. And they funnel all the money offshore and like this one guy, like pumped out, like $16 million, I think in a year with a bunch of shell corporations, like into offshore bank accounts, like these people don’t care at all about people like they’re just greedy criminals. You know what I mean? 

So I mean, I would say that most of those consolidation, things that send up his letter in the mail, they design those to look like federal programs. Right? Have you seen some of those things like that? All? 

Kim  

lt looks really official. 

Travis  

Yeah, it looks super official. Yeah, it’s because you know, these people are just jerks, like trying to prey on people. So I mean, you know, what’s the difference between something that’s like, charges too much, and something that’s a scam? 

I mean, the scam tries to play itself off as if it’s something that it’s not right. So consolidation, doesn’t wipe away your loans. It does do anything like shocking, you know, it doesn’t give you a loan forgiveness, which gives you a loan forgiveness is that you actually pay attention. And you actually fill out all the paperwork, and you have your loans set up in the right repayment plan and that kind of thing. 

So is there like a little example, like maybe you could pick on like a friend of yours that has student loan debt, like, you know, anonymously, that we could like, model and see like, how much money they could save?

Kim  

Oh, yeah, a lot of my teacher friends have student loan debt, one of them right now. She’s said, I’m going to be paying off forever. But the problem is she took the extended plan. So you can pay it over 30 years or something like that.

Travis  

Right. Did she have direct loans? Or is it FFEL?

Kim  

Yeah, now she had, it was all grad school. So she got it in the last eight or nine years.

Travis  

So then she’s got direct loans. So you know, what she needs to do is switch to an income-driven plan right now. And then as soon as she hits the 10-year mark, she needs to apply for PSLF and get rejected. And then she needs to send an email to that tepslf@fedloan.org place. And she could get all of her ones wiped away with like one or two more years of payments.

Kim  

Why does she have to get rejected?

Travis  

It’s the way they made the program? It’s a great question. That’s a wonderful question. But that’s the way that they made the program was that you first have to apply for PSLF and get rejected, and then you can apply for the expanded PSLF. It’s stupid, but that’s the way they’ve done it.

Kim  

So then technically, what I’ve been reading is correct, that they’re getting rejected, but they don’t know that they have to appeal it.

Travis  

Yeah, you have to appeal it specifically by sending an email to this specific email at this loan servicer.

Kim  

To show how bad you want it.

Travis  

Yeah, it’s basically and there’s $350 million that Congress set aside for this. And when that runs out, it’s gone. So I think that that will probably last us another year or two, and then that money will be gone. 

So but the fact that she was on the extended plan, that means that she probably was making payments, at least of what they would have been if she was on an income-based plan. But let’s pretend that you that friend like it’s starting over fresh, just for fun. Right? So like, how much does this friend have in debt?

Kim  

They this is their first year teaching. Right now, let’s say they went to a state school that costs about 22,000 a year for four years.

Travis  

Okay, well, you probably didn’t get all federal debt for that, you know, you probably just maxed out your Stafford loans. 

Kim  

How much do you think they would have in eligible loans at that point?

Travis  

Without any graduate school? Let’s say 40. Okay, you know, so we’ll do like an undergrad teacher. So you said 30K is like a typical starting salary. So for this teacher will assume they’re single. So this person could pay about $100 a month as a single person. So yeah, because remember, I said that $20,000 deduction approximately. 

So 30,000 minus 20,000 is 10,000. 10,000 times 10 percent is 1000. Divide that by 12. Right? The deduction is not exactly 20,000, which is why it works out to them paying 100 a month, but it’s approximately that. So they’re paying $100 a month, over 10 years, this teacher would pay $13,516 and she would have $54,484 forgiven tax-free.

Kim  

Are you guys listening to that? That’s amazing.

Travis  

Um, this is a little bit crazy. But just for fun. So you know, you can put money into retirement accounts, right, like you have a 403(b). So you wouldn’t do this if you’re single, because you can’t max out 403(b) like, on $30,000. Now, say that you were, you know, like, maybe married to another teacher that maybe doesn’t have any student loan debt because they’re lucky. So now let’s say that you file married filing separately, and you decide to put all of your savings in like your 403(b) right? And so what that does is that lowers your taxable income, which lowers your student loan payment. So instead of $30,000, the government thinks you’re making $11,000. Does that make sense?

Kim  

Yeah, all that pre-tax stuff.

Travis  

Yeah, if you do that you’re paying your student loans goes to zero. You have qualifying payments for 10 years of zero dollars a month. And instead of 54,000, forgiven tax-free, you have 68,000 forgiven tax-free, and you have 19,000 a year contributed for retirement. So you contributed $190,000 for retirement. And you that probably grew to like 300, or something like that. So you’re like a rich teacher with no student debt. 

Can we do on like a graduate school?

Kim  

So I have grad school loans. And that was 30,000.

Travis  

For just grad school, right?

Kim  

Yeah. Just for my master’s.

Travis  

Yeah. So you probably let’s just layer that on to like an undergrad amount. Right. So your typical person $40,000 of undergrad, and we’re going to layer on 30,000 from grad school and will say that there was like interest that built up while you were in school, right. So we’ll save 30 plus 40 from undergrad grew into likes at you know, when you started teaching, right? So now you’ve got $80,000 that you’ve got, and then you probably get a higher wage because you went to masters program, right? So what’s the wage after your masters for a Teacher?

Kim  

I’m just gonna make up a number we’ll say 50.

Travis  

Think up a number. That’s good. So $50,000 Yeah, so, so $50,000 Okay, so 80,000 of debt $50,000 of income, your payment is $265 a month, $265 a month, if you paid it back on the standard 10-year plan, you’re paying 810 a month. 

Okay, if you’re paying it back on your friend’s extended plan, then you’re paying $565 a month. So in other words, you’re paying more than double to pay it back over 30 years compared to what you can be paying to pay back over 10 years, and having a free event tax free. So $265 a month, the same thing holds true if you maxed out your 403(b) instead of paying $265 a month, you’d be paying about 100 a month, right? Because it’s taxable income about 30,000, which is what it was for the non-master’s degree person, but we’ll say 50 will say 50,000 a year of income for 80,000 forgiven debt. 

And so then the total payments over 10 years on your 80,000 would be $36,444. That would be your total payments as a 50,000 a year teacher, and then your remaining balance that’d be forgiven would be 99,556 is forgiven tax-free. 

If you did the teacher loan forgiveness program, five 5000 will be forgiven text for after five years. And you know, so congratulations, you have another 10 years to make payments. And and you got super screwed over. Right? Yeah. If you listen to like the refinancing commercials on TV, then. So this is like the standard 10-year plan with the government. So with $80,000 you’d pay back a total of principal and interest of $111,464. Okay, so that’s like 30,000 of interest. 

Okay, if you refinanced because you saw this like commercial while you were like hanging out, like with friends, you know, and like it said, refinance your student loans. Really, Oh, that sounds responsible. And so you do it. And let’s say you get like a 4% rate, which is so good. Right? That sounds amazing. Yeah. Yeah. 

So your principal and interest that you would pay would be 97,000. Okay. So yeah, you save money, like, you save like 20,000 or 15,000 compared to paying the government back, like the standard tinea route. But the problem is you cost yourself 60,000 compared to optimizing your situation for PSLF. And if you like factor in saving for retirement, then you cost yourself probably like 70, or even $80,000 if you refinance your student loans. So like, imagine you’re watching like your favorite TV program, right? And you see this ad to refinance student loans that adjust cost you $70,000

Kim  

But it made THEM how much?

Travis  

Yeah, well, I mean, I mean, you know, that Yeah, made them make profits, right. And so that’s the thing is the refinancing companies like they have their place. Like if you had private loans from undergrad that were like a super high rate, then you would want to refinance those, you would want to get those on a lower interest rate, you know, um, but the problem is, is like, did you know that every website in the world like makes commissions when you like, see things about refinancing? 

So like, we have that same situation, except like, we do cashback bonuses. So we’ll give like a big portion of what the commission is back to the reader. So like, $500, like for refinancing instead of zero. So everybody else does zero. 

But the thing that scares me is like, even though that’s like, nice, like, I always try to put those disclaimers, like, if you’re a 501c or government job, do not press this link, they do not do this, like this is only for people in the private sector, you know, that are, you know, that have private loans already, like there and, you know, be eligible, right? 

But I just think that’s so interesting that, you know, so so the worst-case scenario is you cost yourself like 60 $70,000, if you if you don’t do PSLF, and if it doesn’t happen, then you only gain like 15,000. Right, right. So all these people are like, Oh, I don’t want to lose my 15,000 I don’t want to pay the government an extra 15,000 of interest, right? But they’re not thinking about the chance that they could lose 60 or 70 grand if this thing works out, like the way we expect it to. 

So like, if you just set like, like, say it’s like a coin flip, right? Would you like say you could afford to take a bet that’s like 15,000, like, you know, heads like 60,000 tails, like, right, you know what I mean? Like, you know, like, if you lose 15, you gain 60. Like, that’s, that’s like, awesome, that that’s an amazing bet. Like, that’s assuming that you don’t have like any promises at all. 

But like I said, it’s in your contract. It’s literally in the loan documents. So people just are not aware of this. And they’re just like, costing themselves tons of money. And like, That stinks. Because teachers work really freaking hard. I have two of them, that are cousins. And like my dad, like I said, was a teacher for 40 years. So like, if anything, teachers deserve this loan forgiveness program, you know, I mean, I like to think that, you know, obviously, physicians work hard to but like, Teachers work super hard, you know, and don’t make a lot of money. And so like you deserve, you know, to invest in this, and, like, understand these rules to get forgiveness.

Kim  

What if I have private loans? Is there a situation where I shouldn’t do PSLF? Or I can’t?

Travis  

Yeah, like, if you don’t want to be a teacher for 10 years? You know, I mean, like, seriously, like, if you are like, you know, I’d prefer to, like go into the private sector. You know, I want to, you know, I want to make money. Yeah, you know, I mean, like, that would be a reason, like, that’d be a reason like to go out and like, just realize that you need to make like, if you’re making 40, as a teacher, you get two or three months off a year, and you get PSLF, which is probably worth like 10 to 15 K a year, if you have a lot of debt. 

So that means that you have to go out and probably make like 20 or 30 k more, just to be equivalent to what a teacher is earning, you know, so like, just make sure people are aware of that, right. 

But yeah, it’s like, so if you want to be in the private sector, you don’t want to do 10 years of teaching, that would be a reason. Another reason would be like private debt, like I mentioned, like, that’s not eligible for PSLF only direct federal stuff. 

And then if you owe a really small amount, so if you owe $10,000, the math is just not going to support you going through all this pain and suffering Ray, you know, $5,000 of loan forgiveness, I would just like do the teacher loan forgiveness program, you know, get five of it wiped, and then just like pay the rest off after the five years. So, you know, that would be who it’s not for, as people who are not playing and being Teachers long term or people that owe a very modest amount of debt.

Kim  

If I have private debt. Like you had mentioned, parents taking out that debt to supplement college, what should they do to help pay that back?

Travis  

Yeah, so there’s a couple of things you can do. So Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for PSLF. You know, basically, you have to have the parents actually be not for profit, or government employees for 10 years, you can’t transfer it. So that’s usually not really doable. Like by the time parents are like in their 60s, like they were ready to retire.

So what you can do is the parent can either refinance that in their name and try to get a lower interest rate, or you can take that over from your parents by refinancing it from your parents to you. So for example, like on our site, like two lenders that do this, or Laurel road and common bond, so on our site, they do like 300 to 500 something dollar bonuses for people to take over their Parent PLUS loans and put them in their name instead of the parents name. You know, so you can do that. And like the reward is usually cutting your interest rate from like, 7% to maybe like four or five?

Kim  

Oh, that’s worth it, for sure. Have about for those of us that are planning for our kids to be in college soon. How can we maximize? I mean, how can we make it so that we’re borrowing correctly? In case PSLF is still around?

Travis  

Like for like sending your kid to like undergrad? 

Kim  

Yes, yeah, sending for undergrad? Assuming we’re going to take out loans.

Travis  

Yeah, well, so my parents made a big mistake when they filled out the FAFSA, and they included that retirement savings on there, and the wrong like form. So they put like all of their, like retirement money, like as if it was like cash in the bank. 

And so it totally messed up my financial aid, because all the schools thought we were rich, but like retirement assets that they’re put in the right box are actually not counted. Okay, so. So I would just say like for Teachers, you know, use your 403(b) like, a lot of them are kind of junky and have high fees, like, it doesn’t count on the FAFSA. 

So you know, you want to try to put as much money into retirement as you can, because just that’s just shielded from the FAFSA, and the more money you have stashed away in retirement, like, you could be a pretty low income individuals, a teacher by putting a lot of money in your 403 B. And then you’ll qualify for more things like Pell Grants, maybe more like, you know, need based scholarships. 

So that’s kind of what I would suggest for and like you can do 529, things like that. But to be honest, like, if you’re kind of, if you have like a 16-year-olds, like, I think that it’s better to try to like, just focus on like, trying to get them into the cheapest and state school possible and try to get them scholarships, and make sure they do really well in their PSAT and their essay T and, you know, look at a lot of these scholarship, you know, websites to try to see if they could be eligible for something. 

So I mean, I would just say that, be wary of private loans, you know, if you’re going to take out private loans, you have to have like rock-solid finances, you have to have an emergency fund, you have to be in, you have a really good income. You know, this, the school that your kids going to is got to be just like, you know, so important for them to go to compared to another program. Right?

Kim  

Okay. That’s good to know, I’m about five years away.

Travis  

Five years away, I’d probably start putting some money into a 529. Perhaps, I mean, the only caveat to that is, like I said, they do count 529 money and they don’t count 403(b) money, in terms of your assets for determining how much they’re going to give your kid. So I think it’s generally better for parents to put the money in retirement instead of 529. Because, you know, the schools will usually give you better aid that way.

Kim  

That’s good to know. So you have a service that actually helps put people on the right track for getting their student loans repaid or forgiven? Can you tell us more about that? Because you’ve mentioned it a few times?

Travis  

Yeah, sure. So it’s, um, it’s a few hundred bucks service. So it’s not like thousand dollars or something, it’s, it’s going to be the price is actually going to be changing at the end of November, it’s going to be like 400 to 600, depending on how much that you have right now, the most teachers would be the $300 range, we’re kind of bumping the price up, and we’re making a cheaper option for people that just want to do it themselves. That’s more like, affordable for people to pay on, like a monthly basis. 

So basically, there’s that easy button, right? Like, so if you hear this and you’re like, Okay, I’m convinced that there could be like major loan forgiveness for my situation, I want to make sure that it’s done, right, I don’t want to mess it up, then you know, you can hire somebody like us to figure it out for you. So our folks are CF ps, CFA is and we’re trying to hire a CPA now, too. So you try to make sure it’s professionals, and not just like random people. People go through rigorous training for this with our team. 

So yeah, so if you if you’re interested in that, you want to learn more student loanplanner.com/help, you can read how that works. And, you know, like I said, also, there’s, we also have a top 40 tips for PSLF article on our site. So that’s in the sidebar, in the blog section that you can read. 

And I’ve got, like, you know, like, so sounds 40 tips that you can use, and implement yourself. So and we also have a, like I said, a bunch of stealing player podcast episodes you can listen to, so don’t feel like you need to pay us. But if you do want that help, you know, we’ve made thousands of plans for people, and yet, we’re trying to be like the Starbucks or the student loan world, you know, like, predictable, solid quality, you know, relentless focus on efficiency to make it a really good process, that experience for everyone. So that’s, that’s what we’re trying to do. 

Kim  

And so it sounds like from our conversation, it’s better for people to come in earlier in the repayment process, and not after 10 years have gone by. 

Travis  

Absolutely. But don’t feel like if you’ve already waited, that you’re screwed. If you’re already five years in, or you’re eight years and like your friend is like had spent on the extended plan, like there’s a very specific set of instructions that could make like a mid to high five-figure difference for her, you know, for for the person that the very front end, like we can set it up in such a way that makes it way easier to manage, where you’re not going to have to like track down fed loan and like, appeal their decisions and like call your congressperson, like, there’s a very easy way to set it up in the beginning. 

If somebody has never made payments, I’ll just tell people like consolidate, if you’ve never made any payments at all, just go to studentloans.gov and consolidate it and send it to fed loan, get it signed up for that page, we’re in plan and check the box that you’re doing it for the public service program. And that’s all you have to do if you’re just starting out. 

You know, there’s there’s like complicated stuff with this. Like, if you’re married, like I mentioned, the tax filing stuff, like, there’s definitely things that we could get into that are just super minutia that I don’t want to lose people over. But you can do this on your own, it’s just like, it’s kind of complicated. So a lot of people are probably not going to want to for like, you know, the price that we charge,

Kim  

I mean, when you consider the peace of mind and knowing that you set yourself on the right track, and that you didn’t screw yourself over. And now you’re going to have to pay an extra X number of years, I think that’s definitely worth it in the long run, especially how much when you consider how much you’re actually saving your clients.

Travis  

We have a teacher scholarship that ends in September too. So go to studentloanplanner.com/scholarship, we actually have a category for teachers. Okay, and we’re like giving away $500, and RM so free courses, and potentially like a free console too. So if anybody is like super cash strapped, you know, go ahead and give it a give that a shot.

Kim  

That’s awesome.

Travis  

Yeah, so we tried it, we try to get back like, my like, kind of theory is like, we try to give back a certain percentage of revenue of the company back to like the people who are struggling, you know, because I know that not everybody can afford, you know, a few hundred bucks for free getting a custom plan. But, but I think that at the same time, like it will make you huge difference. 

Like we don’t generally like taking on a client unless we think we can get them a 10 x return on what they’re spending long term, you know, in a projected basis. So, you know, we’re trying to be, you know, in a world of scammers and sketch balls, trying to be the most ethical company out there. At least that’s what I like to think of, you know, so it’s my dad would be really angry. If I was taking advantage of a bunch of Teachers, he tried to kick my butt or something.

Kim  

I’m sure. Just to drive the picture home here. What is the typical amount of debt that your clients have? And are most people having at least like five-figure numbers forgiven? or?

Travis  

Yeah, so I mean, so a lot of teachers actually, like, our average teacher probably has low six figures, because they went to like, the Columbia Teachers College, right. Or they went, yeah, like, they went to a really expensive master’s program. And like, they didn’t get it covered. And like, they made a bunch of forbearance mistakes, and they capitalize their interest. And it comes did and then like they like, you know, maybe even like when delinquent for a couple of months, because like they’re focused on other things. 

And like, and, you know, I mean, I remember one teacher client that we had early on, like, she was just so ashamed that she had defaulted. Like she didn’t even want to think about it, you know. And that was really tough, because, you know, she could have been paying $200 a month and getting credit for forgiveness. And instead, she had just been compounding her her debt for like, five years, you know. 

So it’s just, it’s really important that if you’re listening, just do something. Like don’t just like, listen to this, and just be like, Oh, great, I’m going to go get back on the treadmill, and like, finish my like, you know, my 30 minute run or something, right? Like, go do something, even if it’s as simple as just like, you know, like typing PSLF in Google. Like, you know, I mean, even if it’s that simple, like do that at least. But you know, just know that there’s help out there if you have like 50,000 or 30,000. Or if you have like 200,000 or something like no matter how much you have. I’ve yet to see somebody that’s beyond help.

Kim  

Okay, that’s good to know. So, you had mentioned student loan planner, calm? Where else can my audience find you if they have more questions?

Travis  

Yes. So you can actually just click on the Contact Us button on the site like so you’ll see that in the bottom right-hand corner if you’re on like a laptop or desktop computer, or even on your mobile, you’ll see that so just use that contact button. And then, you know, you can also find us you can find that steel on planter podcast to we have a lot of like ways to contact us through that and people can ask free questions and things like that. So I think the best link is probably studentloanplanner.com/help.

Kim  

Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Travis for taking the time to explain this. I know that I got a lot out of this. I have a lot to think about. And thank you so much for sharing it.

Travis  

Thanks for having me on Kim.


Key takeaways:

 

First, a lot of the agencies in charge of the loan aren’t necessarily keeping accurate records or certifying how many payments you’ve made. It’s up to you to be sure to know that number and file an appeal to correct it. Travis gave us a really good hack on how to get this done faster! You want to make sure the count is accurate when you’re finally ready to get your loan forgiven.

Next, the student loan consolidation programs you get in the mail are scams. Run, don’t walk, away from those! If you consolidate, you basically negate all of those years you’ve spent paying off your loans and make it harder to get any of the loans forgiven.

Finally, Travis crunched some numbers and showed us how by us the income-based payment to pay back student loans, you could actually be paying significantly less than the extended 30-year repayment plan. This blew my mind and really made things a lot clearer!

Travis and the Student Loan Planner team offer reasonably-priced services to help you figure all of this out for YOUR personal situation. If you DON’T want to mess this up and if you’re even a little bit sure that you qualify, I would definitely recommend contacting them to see what they can do for you.

You can try to do this for free by Googling it or listening to the Student Loan Planner podcast. But when you’re ready to get serious so that these loans can be paid off once and for all, head on over to studentloanplanner.com.

If you have student loans, I know that you got a LOT out of this conversation. If you know of another teacher that’s strapped with student loan debt, please do them a favor and share this episode with them! It’s so easy with any podcast player, and they will forever be grateful to you!

Thank you, as always, for hanging out with me today. I hope you have a fabulous week!

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